“Where Did You Live When You Were a Kid, Mom?”

A view of my old neighborhood in the Portofino subdivision of Tierrasanta (San Diego, CA). While those younger trees in the middle didn’t used to be there, this greenbelt brings back a lot of fun childhood memories!

Over the last few months, T has been asking a lot of questions such as, “Who’s your grandma, Mom?” and, “Who’s your Grandpa, Dad?” He will ask these questions over and over… and over; it’s apparent that either he has a serious listening problem, or he really is just trying to piece together the better-known branches of our family tree. I’m going to go with the latter reasoning in this instance, even though I’m convinced that if this were any other line of questioning that it would qualify as a listening problem… as in, he doesn’t (ah the joys of having a four-year-old!).

It’s also quite fun to explain to T how relations work, such as how his grandparents are also C and my parents and how his uncles are C’s brothers. He will protest, “NO, that’s MY grandma (or grandpa, uncle, etc.)!” Again, I just chalk all of those sorts of outbursts up to the fact that T is just trying to get it all straight in his head. That or it’s some sort of crazy game he just loves to play with us (or both?!).

A view from my old front door out to the street in Portofino, a subdivision in Tierrasanta (San Diego, CA).

More recently, T’s been asking where C and I grew up, as in the houses we lived in when we were kids. It’s a real easy answer in C’s case as his parents still live in the house where he spent his entire childhood, infancy through high school graduation, and T of course has been there a few (dozen) times. I, however, had to explain to T that I grew up in two different houses, but that neither of my parents (his grandparents, no MY PARENTS!) live there anymore. Actually, the truth is, I lived in three houses, but I don’t count the first one since I don’t remember it much given I moved out at age two-and-a-half… and I wouldn’t recognize it on sight if I managed to find it anyway! I left out that last explanation since the stare I got from T about the fact that I lived in not just one but TWO houses was enough to tell me that I needed to show him the answers rather than explain this any further.

This is the back alley where all the kids would play all day long. Yes, we played in alleys! Looking back it seems so odd, but they were cul-de-sacs so not heavily trafficked, but still, it’s an alley! And it was so fun! The carport second in from left was ours; while some homes here now have garages, it was becoming a “trend” to convert the carports over to enclosed garages just as we were about to move out. Looks like our alley stayed primarily carport though!

So during a recent trek down to San Diego to see Grandma Beep (hey, that’s MY MOM), I made a few minutes in our schedule to drive by both the houses that I spent the bulk of my childhood years. The first home is in a subdivision of the Tierrasanta neighborhood called Portofino. I lived there from just before three-years-old until I just turned 13 (8th grade). It was and still is a great place for families to raise kids, and it’s a truly was an awesome place for kids to run free and play until the street lights came on at dusk; we also actually played in those streets along with nearby alleys and canyons completely unsupervised, and we did this all of the time. Ah, the good ol’ days… wait, the 70s and 80s are the good OLD days?! Now how did THAT happen?! Sigh.

This is the front door at my childhood house in the Portofino subdivision of Tierrasanta (San Diego, CA). It looks pretty much how I remember it just with a minor paint upgrade (but same colors!). The window on the second level there was my bedroom, and it’s where I would crawl out, scramble down the roof, climb down the fence, and join my friends for some neighborhood fun. I also let friends into my room this way, too. Wait, did I just say that?! Yeah, parents, I did! Well, no one used their front doors here anyway (no, really, we didn’t; we always entered through the back off of  – where else – the alley!).

When we got out of the car to look at the house, I suddenly realized that I might know the current resident; it was a coworker of my dad’s who purchased the house in 1987 and still lives there to date. However, when we rang the doorbell, there was no answer (aww). Eh, probably just as well; while I was curious to see what my old room looked like, I am sure it wouldn’t have resembled how I remember it (though the emergency children’s fire decal up in my old bedroom window still reflected as bright orange as I remembered it from the time when I lived there!). But after giving it more thought, I do think I prefer the memory of my childhood room to its current reality when all’s said and done anyway. The funniest comment T made when we went by this first house was, “So where’s all your stuff? Is it still in there?” No, T, it’s up in our attic for the most part, or long, long gone.

This is my second childhood home in the El Dorado Hills subdivision of Tierrasanta (San Diego, CA). Although this was where I lived last, this looks way different to me as this was not the paint scheme while I lived there. We also hardly ever parked cars in our driveway as we were proud to use our garage for two cars having come from a home with no garage before!

Then we drove over to the second house, which is located only about two miles from the other one in another subdivision of Tierrasanta called El Dorado Hills. I lived in this house from 13-years-old until I moved out-of-state for college at 17, and it’s where I returned to for many a college summer and winter break as well as many a holiday visit. This was the house where we raised the beloved family basset hound from puppy-hood, where we had an in-ground pool put in (with a diving board!), and I hit many adolescent milestones (my sweet 16 party comes to mind in particular – for those who know me, yeah, I mean that party). While T had actually been to this house a handful of times, he was at most six months old on his final visit so he didn’t remember it very well when I showed it to him. The house sold in Spring 2008, and I don’t know anything about who lives there now other than that it’s a couple who wanted a pool for their grand-kids. Not that I’m biased or anything, but those folks made a great purchase, and I’m sure they are making some great memories of their own in that backyard pool.

While neither of these houses were as grandiose in size or decor as Leo Carillo’s rancho, these houses were the center of my world when I was a kid. They are the happy places that I still revisit in my dreams and memories, and they live on when I retell stories of my childhood to T. I can only hope that T has similar wonderful memories later on of our home today when he looks back on his own childhood.

Just one of the many endless sidewalks that wind through the Portofino subdivision of Tierrasanta (San Diego, CA). As kids we rode our bikes around and around through these car-free paths all day and into the evenings. Ah, memories! Oh, and the second house up on the left there was where my childhood BFF lived, just two doors down from me. She moved out about a year before I did, but we always managed to stay in touch and even try to connect once or twice a year now.

Have you taken your kid(s) to the house(s) you grew up in, RMT’ers? What sorts of reactions did you get (funny or poignant)? How old were your kids when you showed them this part of your life’s history? If you haven’t done this before, do you plan to and at what age?

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One response to ““Where Did You Live When You Were a Kid, Mom?”

  1. Pingback: Summer’s Here… Are You Ready, RMT’ers? | Real Mom Time (RMT)

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